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COVID Cases, Deaths Remain at Near Record Lows

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By Jorge Casuso

July 28 -- The number of confirmed coronavirus cases reported in Santa Monica over the past two weeks remained at a near record low, and no new deaths were reported, according to LA County Health data released Thursday.

Over the past two weeks, confirmed COVID cases in Santa Monica remained flat, with 60 confirmed cases, bringing the total number of cases to 26,745.

During that same period, COVID cases confirmed countywide increased by 35 percent, bringing the total number of cases to date to 3,763,078, officials said.

Still, the number of confirmed cases remains 96 percent lower than it was last July, although Health officials note the numbers represent an undercount since home test results are not reported.

"Reported cases and wastewater data provide evidence that COVID-19 is circulating in Los Angeles County at somewhat higher levels than seen earlier this summer," officials said.

"However, this small uptick in transmission is not yet driving significantly greater numbers of new hospitalizations or deaths."

LA County, which has more than 10 million residents, is seeing a record low number of COVID-related deaths, with a daily average of 2.6 deaths, down from 3.4 deaths two weeks ago.

There have been a total of 36,574 Coronavirus-related deaths since the virus began spreading in March 2020.

In Santa Monica, no COVID-related deaths have been reported in more than six weeks, with the death toll remaining at 306, according to County Health data.

For deaths with a date of death on July 1, 2023 or later, the County has "begun counting and reporting only deaths where COVID-19 is coded on the death certificate as the cause of death or a contributing factor."

The change, which aligns the County with the State, "is a normal part of disease surveillance, reflecting both changes in the evolution of the disease and resource constraints," officials said.

Health officials, however, announced that the County will also "track the number of deaths that don’t have COVID-19 listed on the death certificate."

By counting cases that were "reported by a medical provider as COVID-associated," the County data "will capture additional deaths likely associated with COVID that may be under-reported on death certificates," health officials said.

Meanwhile, COVID-related hospitalizations remain at a near record low, with the average daily number ticking up from 213 two weeks ago to 228 this week, according to County data.

As of late June, 52 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID were admitted for reasons other than the virus, which was incidentally detected upon admission, data show.

Health officials announced they will begin providing a regular list of the leading causes of deaths countywide.

While COVID was the third leading cause of death last year -- behind coronary heart disease and Alzheimer’s -- based on this year's data health officials said they "anticipate a significant decrease in the ranking of COVID-19 this year."

As of Thursday, there were active COVID outbreaks at three health care facilities in Santa Monica -- Beachwood Post Acute & Rehab, Brookdale Santa Monica Gardens and the Fireside Health Care Center.

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